Emerging and established biomarkers of oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy

Neuromuscul Disord. 2023 Nov;33(11):824-834. doi: 10.1016/j.nmd.2023.09.010. Epub 2023 Oct 6.


Oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy (OPMD) is a rare, primarily autosomal dominant, late onset muscular dystrophy commonly presenting with ptosis, dysphagia, and subsequent weakness of proximal muscles. Although OPMD diagnosis can be confirmed with high confidence by genetic testing, the slow progression of OPMD poses a significant challenge to clinical monitoring and a barrier to assessing the efficacy of treatments during clinical trials. Accordingly, there is a pressing need for more sensitive measures of OPMD progression, particularly those which do not require a muscle biopsy. This review provides an overview of progress in OPMD biomarkers from clinical assessment, quantitative imaging, histological assessments, and genomics, as well as hypothesis-generating "omics" approaches. The ongoing search for biomarkers relevant to OPMD progression needs an integrative, longitudinal approach combining validated and experimental approaches which may include clinical, imaging, demographic, and biochemical assessment methods. A multi-omics approach to biochemical biomarker discovery could help provide context for differences found between individuals with varying levels of disease activity and provide insight into pathomechanisms and prognosis of OPMD.

Keywords: Biochemical; Biomarker discovery; Clinical; Imaging; Neuromuscular disorders; Pathology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Blepharoptosis* / genetics
  • Deglutition Disorders*
  • Genetic Testing
  • Humans
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Oculopharyngeal* / genetics


  • Biomarkers